Sunday, 14 August 2016

Ideas And A Decade

Ideas "strike sparks off each other" when blogging about Poul Anderson. His description of the voice of a fire elemental inspired a reflection on screen adaptations of Narnia and also a reference to Alan Moore's Voice Of The Fire. I have frequently compared Anderson's Old Phoenix Inn with Neil Gaiman's Inn of the Worlds' End and now realize that a third multiversal location with similar ethereal properties is Michael Moorcock's Tanelorn, albeit this is a city, not a single building.

When I wrote here that:

"Fiction, including fantasy, reflects reality."

- I unconsciously echoed the concluding sentence of Anderson's Introduction to Operation Chaos (New York, 1995), facing p. 1:

"...all fiction, even the lightest fantasy, grows out of this real world where we live."

Is my formulation an improvement? It is five words instead of fifteen.

In this case, the fantasy of "Operation Changeling" grew out of the real world events of the 1960's which Anderson describes as "...that 'low dishonest decade'..." Were the 1960's dishonest? My impression of that decade is positive, not negative. Were people wrong to think that they could live differently and change the world? I still think that we can although it is not easy. That was the dishonesty: some people thinking that they had already solved the world's problems instead of, at best, made a start. But we do need to change something, surely?

A guy interviewed on British television referred to the ideals of the 1960's and said, "Maybe we should still believe in those things..." What a sad response! Does he not still believe in peace etc? Was it all a fad? If he does not believe now what he believed then, has he not formulated an alternative? We have all had more than enough time to reflect.


David Birr said...

The reference to Tanelorn strikes a particular chord with me, because Rodney Matthews did a magnificent painting of it, and I've got a large (2' x 3') print on the wall of my dining room.

If you haven't seen Matthews' art, I highly recommend checking it out. It's often both eerie and glorious.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree with Poul Anderson's contempt for the '60s. It was indeed a "low dishonest decade." The time when contempt by our socio/political elites for facts, logic, and reasoned thought became the dominant norm. I have contempt not only for the Sixties but also for the Seventies. I think we see Anderson's contempt for that disgraceful period most clearly in THERE WILL BE TIME.

In fact, Paul Johnson, in his history of the post WW I era, MODERN TIMES, calls that period the time when the US tried to commit suicide!


Paul Shackley said...

Yes, Anderson comes nearest to writing a political tract in one chapter of THERE WILL BE TIME.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Correct! And I agree with Anderson's low view of the intellectual and moral degenerates who now dominate the US. The kind of people others call "Social Justice Warriors" or, at John Wright's blog, "Morlocks."